Articles Tagged with broker suspension

According to publicly available BrokerCheck records, James Carolan Speno (CRD#431912), a New York based securities broker, formerly associated with Morgan Stanley, was recently barred by FINRA. Attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against James Speno.

Mr. Speno has spent over 45 years as a securities advisor. His most recent registration was with Morgan Stanley in New York. Prior to that he was registered with Oppenheimer & Co.; RBC Capital Markets Corporation; Salomon Smith Barney Inc.; Lehman Brothers Corp.; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., Sussex Securities Incorporated; Lehman Brothers Incorporated.

Mr. Speno is currently not registered with any firm.

One of the well-known and strictly enforced rules in the securities industry is that brokers should not enter into undisclosed private loan transactions with their clients.  A Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) was recently accepted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA’s) Department of Enforcement from Paul F. Gans, Jr., who was employed as a registered broker by Raymond James Financial, Inc. up until November 2014.  According the AWC, Mr. Gans inappropriately loaned money to a “family friend” in exchange for a three-year promissory note bearing 8% annual interest, without disclosing the transaction to his employer and ensuring it complied with his employer’s policies and procedures.  Mr. Gans was accused by FINRA of violating FINRA Rule 3240 (Borrowing from or Lending to Customers) and Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade).

Rule 3240 prohibits brokers from borrowing from or lending to customers, unless the transaction is permitted by the employing firm after disclosure and in compliance with the firm’s policies and procedures.  According to the AWC, Mr. Gans did not disclose the promissory note transaction to his employer.

As detailed in the AWC, Mr. Gans was suspended from association with any FINRA member for ten business days, and fined $5,000.  The firm, Raymond James Financial, Inc., disclosed on FINRA BrokerCheck that Mr. Gans was discharged for his lack of disclosure of an outside business activity, which may or may not refer to the promissory note transaction.  It was also disclosed on FINRA BrokerCheck that Mr. Gans was also discharged from his prior employer Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 2000 for also violating that firm’s policies and procedures, that time for mailing correspondence without prior approval.  FINRA BrokerCheck also revealed that Mr. Gans was the subject of one customer complaint in 1994 for allegedly failing to inform a client in the decline in value of a “mutual investment,” which claim was settled by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

“My broker dealer wants me to meet with its lawyers.”  This is the start of a FINRA registered representative’s worst nightmare.

Your heart is pounding and your head starts to race.  “Why me?” “What do they want to know?”  “What could I have done?”  “Are they going to ask me about the XYZ account?”  “I’m sure that I did everything right and by the book, didn’t I?”

If you did do something that may have been a violation of the law, FINRA Rules, or the firm’s manual, you will likely begin to think about the potential punishment (fine, suspension, termination) even before you hang up the phone or close the door to your office.  Once an investigation into your conduct starts, you are not able to leave with a “voluntary” termination, but at best would be “permitted to resign during a firm investigation.”